France! The Eiffel Tower, the cathedral of Notre Dame, a beautiful country unparalleled. Whether you are here because of the work, hobby or whatever, the stupor that this place produces is inevitable. Everything looks better here, isn’t it? It is not only the palace of Versailles and the house of mirrors, it is everything. The history that this place has, what it represents … this is not perceived anywhere else. Everything seems so… magical. I invite you to eat a croissant in the same café where Jean Paul Sartré and Simón de Beauvoir used to philosophize; so you’ll see what I’m talking about. All the worries fade away, and you feel what really is being alive. Until… yeah, there’s an until. What happens? That we are human after all (because you are not an alien, right?), So we are vulnerable to hundreds (no millions) of things: a fall, a suspect sneeze, a discomfort of some kind in this place or the other; and, let’s be honest, who wants to spend his stay in France with a cold? (I bet you do not) So, friend, this is for you. It is inevitable that we get sick or our body suffer some other issue (unless we live inside a bubble), but if you are in France, there is a very simple action you can do, a path you can take, and it is: follow the light! And no, I do not mean the white light at the end of the tunnel (do not follow that one), I mean the green light that tells you there is a french pharmacy.

It has happened to all of us: Headache, cold, allergy, etc … in our home we normally would not have problems to find the pertinent medicines, but, what if you are not at home, but in a foreign country? What if you are in France? How to know if the medication for your specific problem is on sale? What happens with the language barrier? What is the cost of this medication in this extravagant country? And many other questions can arise in the middle of the anatomical crisis that you are having, and, I tell you, they do not make a very good combination; so, let’s resolve all that now, ok?

To begin, we point out that only in Paris, the capital of France, there are about 1000 pharmacies (not bad, huh?), Which translates into approximately one per 2200 inhabitants, so, in terms of quantity, we should not worry. And this incredible country not only reassures us in this sense, but also in many more in terms of medicines; besides that almost every three blocks you will find a green cross that will indicate you that it is a pharmacy, they work in a very wide schedule: in general, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; however, you could say: but emergencies do not have a schedule (which is true), what happens if I urgently need an open pharmacy outside those hours? And you would be right, my friend, but there are pharmacies that work at different times (including 24h), so you can always find an open pharmacy in the time you need it. No more ‘agh, my stomach hurts, but is 2:00a.m. I won’t find any place open’. This is due, in principle, to that, unlike the US. or other European countries, where a few pharmaceutical chains monopolize the entire market, in France the vast majority are independently owned, which has a very positive impact in many aspects.

Now, there are two types of pharmacies in France, so, when identifying a green cross, you must know how to recognize if you are in front of a pharmacy or a parapharmacie, because they have different purposes (dah…). What distinguishes them is, of course, what they have for sale: the first one, in general, provides medicines, as well as cosmetics and other kinds of products, more focused on actual health; while in a parapharmacies they sell what could be called “the soft version” of medicine, such as hair products, vitamins, first aid kits and so on.

Let’s go to the main course now, shall we? Let’s talk about the costs. I think this is where you will get excited, because despite what intuition might indicate, in France the costs of medicines are usually much lower than in other regions in Europe, this is due to the strong restrictions on prices (courtesy of the State). But that’s not all, in France there is an entity called the French Social Security; and if you are a member, it assumes the partial cost of the prescribed medicines you buy, even up to 65%! Everything depending on the type of medicine, of course. Although, the thing goes better and better, because if you belong to some schemes (like the AME), most of the times you will get for free your prescribed medicines. Plus, when paying you can request a Carte Vitale: a card that guarantees that the residents of this country will be reimbursed a fraction of their medical expenses (imagine how much you will save). It is worth mentioning that France has a somewhat stricter restriction regarding the distribution of medicines, in the sense that many medicines that other countries do not need prescription of any kind, in this country you would need it.

Now, does not it bother you a little that you go out to an establishment to do some shopping and the dependant is uncouth, does not know what you’re talking about or just does not care? It is very annoying. It’s like: I’m paying you for the service, right? I mean, God… Well, in France, city of wonders, this is not a problem! French pharmacists are recognized worldwide for their professionalism. Their education and manners are immaculate, from the pharmacists themselves to their assistants present an exemplary treatment. Added to this, they are 100% proficient, as they all have their respective diploma, which requires nothing more and nothing less than 6 years of university studies! When you go in search of a medication, you will not have the classic problem of the guy in the bar with the face of wanting to be elsewhere and treating you as if he is doing you a favor. French pharmacists are more than qualified to identify ailments, discomforts and other problems; besides providing the right medication for such a problem.

Omelette du Fromage. This is possibly the most that many of us know how to say in French (we must admit that it is not an easy language to learn), but we can not run to the pharmacy looking for an allergy remedy and tell the guy that, cause he will refer us to the omelettes store that is two blocks away. And what’s more, the drugs have strange names in any language, even more in French! How can we even try to express what we need if we have not even been able to order something other than cheese omelette since we arrived to France? Well this is not a problem, in France, most pharmacists dominate, at least in part, different languages (especially English), as part of their academic training, at least as regards what they will need to perform their work. And if this still does not satisfy you, there are pharmacies specialized in the multiplicity of the language, that is, they have staff that fluently masters more than one language, to serve foreign users in a more pleasant way. Anyway, if once in France you need a particular medicine because you lost it or some other reason, the best thing you can do, if you do not master the language, is to ask your pharmacist to specify the name of that medicine in the system of international common denomination, in this way, no matter where you come from, the name of your medicine will be the same in France. In case your medication requires some type of prescription, you must go to a doctor in France to be issued. In case you already have the medicines for your condition or problem, you can travel to France with them without practically any major inconvenience. Of course there is a limit, you can’t go around traveling with 3kg of medicines in your bag (do you imagine the face of the guy at the ariport?), but within the reasonable, you can bring them to France.

So, as far as medicines are concerned, France has it covered. Almost any kind of mild health problem you have, you can solve it by just snapping your fingers. However, if your problem is rather serious, the ideal would be to contact a doctor (of which France also has many extremely competent) to attack with certainty the problem without any kind of alternate drawbacks. There is an immensity of cases in which a person, because they do not have knowledge and express themselves in the wrong way, gets to confuse the pharmacist, who dispenses the wrong medication; this is due in general to the fact that the person in question is not sure of what his symptoms are and tries to make some kind of approach, either from something he heard, from what he saw in an internet search, etc. In summary, if you have moderate or severe problems and you are not entirely sure what it is, go to a doctor who diagnoses and then prescribe the appropriate medication.

France is, without a doubt, the tourist destination of many people, and it is not for less, considering its beauty and extremely rich culture, not for nothing it’s called belle France. And is that there are so many emotions that are about to blow up when you are in the country, from all sides: the cuisine, with its exquisite and varied dishes; art, who has not heard of French artists? music, who does not get excited when listening to a beautiful song in French? the geography, and more. It is the country of never sleeping: museums, concerts, cooking, hiking, etc … You can take ofr sure that, even if you live there for 10 years, you will always feel that you are having a vacation, and the best of your life; the variety is amazing and there is always something new and exciting to do. But there is more besides these incredible tourist attractions, and that is that the French take very seriously what the safety of their citizens is concerned and is not for less. With 85 million people traveling to France every year, this is their number one priority. Anyone can suffer some kind of problem: a heat stroke, an indigestion or inconvenience of this type can affect us all, and nobody wants to ruin their vacations by not having an adequate and stocked pharmacy with competent professionals leading them, this is a facet of France that nobody perceives, but that is heavy, and makes a lot of lives better. And you, what are you waiting for to come to France?

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